Saturday, April 18, 2009


I finally took Malanga Baby to see the Jose Marti statue at the 6th Avenue entrance to the Park.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Don Quijote for Babies

After that Sancho Panza dream a few weeks ago, I was very amused to find this book at our beloved Barco de Papel bookstore. It's the perfect size for Malanga Baby's hands.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Pasta with veggies

I have discovered that pasta makes a very good vehicle for delivering veggies. In the last week, I've fed Malanga Baby spinach fettucine with a yummy garlic, asparagus, spinach, pine nut & parmesan cheese sauce and bow tie pasta with an equally yummy garlic and red beet sauce. The beet sauce was messy, but so much fun!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Meatball Baby

I should say I made Malanga Baby “alb√≥ndigas,” but the first word that springs to mind is actually the Italian one- “polpette.” The summer before Malanga Baby was born, I spent a dreamy three weeks in Italy doing yoga in Tuscany, eating scrumptious meals in various cities and cooking in my friend’s small kitchen in Naples. The activity that brought me closest to the Italian language was those afternoons shopping for the ingredients for whatever I was making. I learned that the Macellaria sold meat and that what I wanted from the local produce vendor was not a cebolla or even a sebola, but a cipolla (so many attempts to make myself understood!) and that bread crumbs, such a plain and pedestrian thing, sound like something infinitely more interesting in their Italian incarnation- pane gratuglatto. I will forever think of those brilliant, sun-drenched Naples afternoons chatting with the locals whenever I make meatballs.

I hope Malanga Baby grows up with happy memories of meatballs, too, since she seemed to gobble them up with great pleasure last night. Her method is unique. First she takes the entire meatball in her hand and gives it a squeeze, looking at it as the meat squishes and flexes. Then she pops the whole thing in her mouth, dividing it into smaller pieces with her jaw and spitting it all back out to then pick up the pieces one by one for proper eating. Our dinner was a very drawn out affair last night, but such an enjoyable one as the three of us ate our meatballs. I am thrilled to find something that Malanga Baby finds both fun to play with and delicious.

My meatball making has become a bit more refined since my Italian days now that I have access to lots of cookbooks. The following recipe is from “The Best Recipe.”

Meatballs for the whole family

2 slices white sandwich bread (crusts discarded), torn into small pieces
6 tablespoons plain yogurt (the original recipe calls for thinning out with 2 tablespoons whole milk, but I didn’t use the milk and everything turned out fine)
1 pound ground meat
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh parsley leaves (REALLY FINELY MINCED)
1 large egg yolk
I skipped the salt, but did add some ground pepper
About 1 & ¼ cup vegetable oil for pan-frying

- Combine bread and yogurt in small bowl, mashing occasionally with a fork, until smooth paste forms, about 10 minutes
- Place ground meat, cheese, parsley, egg yolk, garlic and pepper in medium bowl. Add bread-yogurt mixture and combine until evenly mixed. Shape into meatballs, making sure you don’t make them too dense. I made quite a few of the meatballs smaller for little hands.
- Pour vegetable oil in a saut√© pan to a depth of ¼ inch. Turn flame up to medium-high. After several minutes, test oil with edge of meatball. When oil sizzles, add meatballs in a single layer. Fry, turning several times, until nicely browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer browned meatballs to plate lined with paper towels to cool before serving.